Computer

Photo by Aidan Johan

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Bio

To put an entire person into a paragraph is a ridiculous notion. But since modern society seems bent on condensing things down to a form that is intelligible to an 8th grader with the attention span of a gerbil, I’ll try to confine myself to a few sentences.

I love life by letting go of controlling it, and instead put my best effort into the task without becoming too attached. I have strong opinions on things that I know about, but often keep them to myself and am open to letting my mind be changed. I’m good at a lot of physical skills, but struggle in some mental activities and most social ones. I love to laugh, can make a good pun, and can find humor in most things, but can also buckle down and be serious when the situation requires it. I’ve experienced enough pain in my life to let most harsh situations wash over without affecting me, but am not past being compassionate. My work ethic is unstoppable when I’m working on something I enjoy, set my mind to it, or am challenged to it, but my nature is to move on to new things so I find myself losing focus if I’m not intrigued by the task.

Change is what makes the world keep turning and life worth living.


Skills

  • Residential and commercial electrical – 6 months hands-on work experience:
    • New construction wiring
    • Remodel wiring
    • Device installation
    • Conduit installation
    • Low voltage electrical (phone, data, cable TV, sensors, water pump control)
  • Electronics – 5+ years hands-on personal experience, 1 year work experience:
    • Soldering
    • General component knowledge (resistors, capacitors, LEDs, connectors, cable terminations)
    • PCB soldering and rework
  • Audio/Video – 5+ years hands-on personal experience, 1 year work experience:
    • Pro audio:
      • Live audio mixing
      • Studio recording
      • Mic selection and placement
      • Digital recording equipment setup
      • DAWs:
        • Excellent knowledge in Studio One and Mixcraft
        • Basic knowledge in Logic, ProTools, and Abelton
      • Audio cable wiring and termination
      • Good knowledge of Behringer X32/Midas M32
      • Good knowledge of analogue mixer functions
    • Consumer Audio:
      • Stereo system setup
    • Video:
      • Good knowledge of connector and cable types
      • General knowledge of Premiere and HitFilm
  • Computer and Network:
    • Good knowledge of UI and UI-level tweaks in Windows and OS X
    • Good knowledge of building desktops
    • Good knowledge of OS install, Windows and OS X
    • Experience building and installing Hackintosh machines (OS X on a Windows or homebuilt computer)
    • Experience installing network cable, connections, and equipment
    • Experience configuring routers, modems, and switches (including DD-WRT, wireless router as an access point, subnetworks, DHCP reservation, port forwarding)
  • Theatre – 5+ years hands-on personal and work experience:
    • Lighting:
      • General knowledge of lighting design
      • Good knowledge of light plot design
      • Good knowledge of LX Free
      • Good knowledge of light hangs
      • Good knowledge of basic lighting fixtures:
        • Source Four
        • Fresnel (Altman and Capitol)
        • PAR can
        • Altman Baby Zoom
      • Good knowledge of dimmer/board patching
      • General knowledge of A/B preset board operation
      • Good knowledge of board setup, patch, submaster/group/cue/effect creation on Leviton Innovator 48/96
      • Basic knowledge of DMX 512 principals
    • Sound:
      • Good knowledge of QLab
      • Sound system setup/configuration
    • Stage Managing:
      • Experience calling lighting, sound, and fog cues
  • Tools – 5+ years hands-on personal experience:
    • Drills & drivers
    • Hole hog
    • Jig saw
    • Skill saw
    • Sawzall
    • Table saw
    • Radial arm saw
    • Drillpress
    • Router
    • Biscuit joiner
    • Hand tools
  • Musical instruments:
    • Excellent knowledge of violin/fiddle
    • Good knowledge of guitar, bass guitar, singing
    • Basic knowledge of piano, keyboard, drums

My Life

I was born and grew up in Boulder, Colorado, learning to love the outdoors, music, good food, and a curiosity of how things work from my parents. When my brother, Carter, was born I suddenly had a companion with whom to share my ideas and scheme about new inventions.

When I was little, I used to say

“I want to grow up to be the trickiest man in the world.”

I don’t exactly know where that came from, but I’ve always been fascinated by figuring things out and coming up with new and better ways to do things. Ever since I can remember I’ve been figuring things out, anything from when I was 3 years old and my brother was born:

Me: “How does that thing work” (pointing to the valve on top of the oxygen bottle)

Midwife: “The mask goes over your brother’s mouth and it helps him breathe”

Me: “No, how does it work?”

Midwife: “Um…”

Dad: “Well, there’s this knob here that turns this piece, and that lifts up a valve that lets the oxygen out of here and through this tube…”

to learning how to set up a private cloud file server for the theater staff to share files with.

Before long Carter and I were building Lego mobiles and building balsa wood models. When we were a bit older, we started learning about electricity with Snap Circuits and remote control cars. Soon we were making LED-lit RC helicopter landing pads, missile-launching motorized Lego robots, and foamboard RC planes.

My life prior to attending school was pretty normal for a kid in Boulder, CO as far as I can tell. Family bikerides, helping dad mow the lawn, playing baseball in the backyard, going to Home Depot and McGuckin on the weekends with dad to get parts for various projects around the house. I guess life was pretty good back then, but again at that point in life the quality of my life wasn’t something that I was actively thinking about. And even if I was, there wouldn’t have been much that I could do to change it.

Then along came preschool, or as they call it in the Waldorf curriculum, kindergarten. (They lump preschool and kindergarten into the same thing. So I went to kindergarten for four years). I remember a few things about Boulder Waldorf Kindergarten, including how utterly horrible it was when Rice Day (Monday) changed to Millet Day, playing jump rope games in the playground, and the time that I watched the teacher unlock the shed with all of the toys and tools inside, memorized the code, and then unlocked it after the school day was over to get the shovels to dig in the sand. That day I was probably the trickiest kindergartener in the whole world, but I still had a long way to go.

When it came time for me to go to 1st grade, my parents decided that Shepherd Valley Waldorf School would be the best choice. I remember that the first day of school was on a Tuesday. Our Red Rose Ceremony began, and with it eight years of education that would shape me as a human being.

There was obviously a lot of things that happened in the first few years of life at Shepherd Valley, but by far the largest event was in 5th grade when my father became paralyzed. He was riding his bike down a canyon near Boulder when an out-of-control motorcyclist crossed the double yellow line around a blind corner and came careening into the opposite shoulder, straight into my father. Boom. That changed things for all of us quite drastically. The funny thing is that I don’t ever remember feeling sad. Who knows – maybe I was and my mind has just erased that part of my history, or maybe I just accepted what had happened and pushed the emotion deep down in a dark pit inside me.

Anyways, back to school:

Attending Waldorf school for all of my education, I grew up surrounded by things that most kids aren’t. No TV, computers, or video games were allowed for nearly all of my grade school years, painting, drawing, kniting, crocheting, and woodwork were more commonplace, and I started playing violin in 3rd grade (along with half of my classmates. The other half played cello).

The good side of this upbringing is evident in my continuing interest and talent in music, art, and handcraft, but the downside was that I felt left out of my peer group. Because even thought everyone at the school was supposed to follow the same rules, many of my classmates had parents that allowed them to do things that my parent didn’t allow. It sucks when all of your friends are talking about the latest movies or games and you can’t join in the conversation because you have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s even worse when because of your lack of experience with these maters you become the “uncool kid”.

I don’t remember exactly when it started, but I do remember that 8th grade was definitely not a good year for me. I hesitate to use the word “bullied”, because I really can’t rely on my memories too well for that time period. But from what I can remember, “bullied” is the word that fits the situation most closely. Teasing about my word choice, clothing, and personality are all things that come to mind when recalling that time in my life.

With that behind me I hesitantly stepped into life as a ninth grader at Tara Performing Arts High School. To my surprise, everyone was really nice and nobody made fun of me! It was great! I remember having this thought as a freshman:

I’m really excited to go to school. To have a place to look forward to going to after leaving the not-always-great environment of my home. A place where I have friends to hang out with and cool things to learn.

I’d never been genuinely excited to go to school before. At least not in a long time.

Although I can’t say that I felt that way about every day of my years at Tara, the general feeling remained the same throughout high school. As our class progressed through the years, we became closer and grew to know each other like siblings. When we started 9th grade, we had a record-breaking class size of 17, and when our four years were up that number had honed down to a tight-knit group of 13.

To try to recall and write down the events that took place throughout high school could easily fill an entire book. Several actually. So I’m not going to even try to reproduce those experiences here. Maybe one day I’ll write them into blog posts. Or if I’m feeling really inspired maybe I’ll write a book. But don’t get your hopes up.

After I graduated, I was planning on taking a gap year. I’m not sure what made me want to, but there was a definite decision in my subconscious mind. Sure, I had articulate reasons for wanting to take a year off: Helping out with theater tech at Tara, recording an album, getting some work experience. But it was more than that. There was never really a choice. I was set on that gap year.

Looking back, I wish I hadn’t. Yes, I did some cool things. And yes, I did some really valuable things. But it wasn’t worth it. I’m stuck now. I got off the train of the Normal Modern High School Graduate, and now I can’t get back on. Society makes a path for kids: You apply to colleges in your senior year of high school, then you get accepted, then you go to college, then you start living real life. But once you get off that path, it’s a massive task to get back on. Because not it’s all up to me. Yes, I could go to college. But I would have to forge my way through and make it happen, which is a very daunting process.

Some of my friends tell me that I’m so grown up, working full time and supporting myself. But what they don’t know is that that’s the easy way out. Yes, I’m working full time, and yes I’m making my own living doing so, but for me that’s easy. So hopefully one day soon I’ll get up the motivation to get myself back to school. But until then I’ll be here, writing music and making websites and biking to work and running tech for the theater. And of course working on becoming the trickiest man in the whole world.